Stop a minute and ask yourself the question:
Is my practice successful?
Some of you will instantly answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but others will say ‘It depends what you mean by success’.
So what is success?
When people are asked this question, they usually include some or all of these:
- Good health
- Peace of mind
- Good family relationships
My practice is successful if it gives me happiness:
Being a practitioner can be very rewarding. Helping people to transform their lives, reducing pain and distress can be a wonderfully satisfying thing to do. It’s important though that we don’t have unreasonable expectations and say: I will only be happy if I get everyone well. Having a praise folder can help you remember your successes when you've had a series of apparent failures. Keep in it thank you cards and notes from satisfied customers; write down immediately after a session positive things a client has said about you and add to the folder. Get the folder out and read it often.
My practice is successful if it gives me good health:
Are you seeing too many clients so that your life is out of balance and your health is compromised? It is important that we look after ourselves and our needs, as well as those of our clients. If you have difficulty with this, consider that if you get ill you won’t be able to see any clients at all.
One of the things we need to do is be a good role-model for our clients. Having a working life that is unhealthy isn’t good for anyone. Keep your work life in balance with the rest of your life – find time to relax, take exercise, go on holiday, enjoy a good book, etc.
My practice is successful if it gives me prosperity, security, peace of mind and hope:
Many therapists struggle to earn sufficient money from their practice. They may not see enough clients, or see a lot of low-paying clients or suffer from lots of cancellations or no-shows. Being a practitioner is not just about being technically competent. My guess is that if you thought for a few minutes, you’d be able to think of a successful practitioner you know, who may not be much more competent than you, but does have a much busier practice. Often this is down to the confidence they exude. This can be difficult if you’re not a naturally confident person, but this is something you can work on – may be by seeing another therapist or taking a flower essence.
My practice is successful if it gives me good family relationships and friends:
If you work too hard and demand too much of yourself, you may find it difficult to give family and friends the time and energy they (and you) deserve. Andrew Parr, a very successful therapist, recounts how he was so ‘successful’ at one point that all his relationships with his friends turned into therapeutic encounters. At his own birthday party he even ended up in a separate room from the party giving a session to a friend. I went through a phase when I was seeing so many clients I was exhausted and could barely speak to anyone when I had finished for the day. Neither Andrew nor I were truly ‘successful’ at that time, in spite of what our bank accounts might have said.
So, ask yourself the question again:
Is my practice successful?
Copyright 2013 Jane Thurnell-Read